The reality is that they’re likely to be living on a state pension (if they’re lucky), propped up by a measly pot of cash. Essentially they’ll be re-living their student years of beans on toast and charity shop clothes, just without the reward of better things to come. And all because saving wasn’t of interest to them when it mattered.
The pensions & investment industry needs to wake up and take notice. It must understand that millennials are a generation of brand buyers and social media obsessives, and change its approach, if it’s going to succeed in getting them to buy into saving. Yes auto enrolment’s a good start, but it’s also crucial to change attitudes so that people want to pay in, instead of just feeling like they have to.
And the industry must engage with this generation and find out what matters to them. Instead of focusing on the end game, recognition should be given to what people actually want to achieve during their lives – replacing pensions with “My Life Plan” or similar. We’re a generation all about check lists that improve our general being – we focus on homes of our own, weddings to remember, courses to learn new skills and sabbaticals that enable us to travel. Just getting young people to start saving for these things would be an improvement. And if we can then embed saving into the mind-set, there’s no reason additional saving for further into the future can’t run alongside.
And I don’t want to use the word retirement – it’s like saying you’ve used up your best years, now move over and on to the scrap heap. Why would anyone want to think about that at 30, let alone start saving for such a time?
Much better would be “Life After Work”. In our 30s we’re probably settling down, having families etc., but we still have dreams we want to fulfil in the future. If I knew travel plans, a property somewhere warm, a new hobby was the end game I’d be much more inclined to save.
The industry has also been extremely slow to utilise social media effectively. Where is the app that combines savings pots for different parts of people’s lives into one central portfolio? Why can’t projected savings for each pot be worked out at any given time? It needs to up its game.
Finally, today’s most successful brands give something back – they know loyalty is worth rewarding. So where are the genuine incentives for savers? What points can be earned and what rewards are on offer? Such as vouchers that help our wellbeing – by teaming up with a sports company or similar – so that we know we’ll still be around to spend our hard-saved cash. They’re little things, but they would go a long way in encouraging younger generations to save.
I don’t have the answers and I know it’s not going to be easy. But what’s clear is that the industry must engage with the audience it’s trying to reach. We are a generation that buys brands we can engage with. Given pensions & retirement has become so far removed from the very people that need to save, isn’t it time for a make-over?